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The Truth about Toxic Crib Mattresses and SIDS

By siteadmin 13 years ago 382 Views 9 comments

I was relieved to read a report published by First Candle/SIDS Alliance "TOXIC GAS THEORY, MATTRESSES AND SIDS" that dispels the reports circulating that crib mattresses were causing SIDS.

This report reviewed all studies that have been done to try and substantiate the toxic gas hypothesis but found no real evidence to support the claims.

In summary, First Candle/SIDS Alliance says, "…there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the claim that toxic fumes resulting from a chemical reaction between bed-wetting and a flame retardant chemical used in infant mattresses (antimony) are a cause of SIDS."

Read the full report, which details how the theory began and refers to research done by organizations around the world that share the same position. Even experts in New Zealand, where this theory originated, do not support the claims.

They make recommendations on crib mattresses and bedding, which should be very helpful to new parents.

I still believe the only materials that should be in a crib mattress, ought to be organic. Shouldn’t baby sleep on the purest materials for a fresh start in life?

SIDS Alliance

The Clean Bedroom organic crib mattresses

Posted in: Organic Mattresses
liveforevermonavie 2 months ago at 10:05 AM
What is crib death?
Crib death is the most common cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year of age. Ninety percent of all crib deaths occur among babies under 6 months of age. In most cases of crib death, the baby has been put down to sleep in his/her crib and later found lifeless, with no sign of illness or physical struggle.
How can a parent prevent crib death?
Many parents may be unaware of a 100% successful crib death prevention campaign which a New Zealand scientist, Dr Jim Sprott, has been running in New Zealand for eight years.
Dr Sprott states with certainty that the cause of crib death has been discovered: it is caused by very toxic nerve gases which can be generated from crib mattresses and certain other bedding used in babies' cribs. These toxic nerve gases are generated when compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and/or antimony in the bedding combine with household fungus which commonly grows in bedding.
These gases (which are all anticholinesterase agents), when inhaled by a baby or absorbed through the baby’s skin in a lethal dose, shut down the baby’s central nervous system, stopping breathing and then heart function. Thus the cause of crib death is not medical – it is the result of environmental poisoning. The baby can be fatally poisoned without waking and without physical struggle.
The solution is to prevent exposure of babies to the gases by wrapping mattresses in accordance with a specified protocol and ensuring that bedding used on top of the wrapped mattresses is not capable of the gas generation concerned.
Since late 1994 mattress wrapping has been publicized nationwide in New Zealand, and during that time an estimated 120,000 babies have slept on wrapped mattresses. Prior to the commencement of mattress-wrapping, New Zealand had the highest crib death rate in the world (2.1 deaths per 1000 live births). Following the adoption of mattress-wrapping the New Zealand crib death rate has fallen by 52% - and there has been no reported crib death among those babies who have slept on correctly wrapped mattresses. Among the ethnic group most likely to wrap babies' mattresses (New Zealand Europeans) the crib death rate has fallen by around 75%.
These major reductions in New Zealand crib death rates cannot be attributed to orthodox crib death prevention advice (e.g. face-up sleeping). There has been no material change in that advice in New Zealand since 1992.
Orthodox research organizations dispute Dr Sprott’s and Mr Richardson’s findings) – however, no research has disproved the toxic gas theory for crib death. In actual fact, the toxic gas theory explains every risk factor which is known to be associated with crib death.
A considerable amount of research relating to the toxic gas theory has been published in peer-reviewed medical and other scientific journals. In fact, mattress-wrapping for crib death prevention is supported by wider research than supported the introduction of various items of orthodox advice (including
face-up sleeping).
According to Dr Sprott (who has a PhD in chemistry and is expert in the gas generation concerned), every step in the toxic gas theory for crib death has
been proved. And the eight-year New Zealand experience provides practical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents crib death.
Some orthodox crib death researchers say that crib death rates in various countries have fallen without the introduction of mattress-wrapping – and they have. But there is a crucial difference: many babies have died of crib death where parents followed orthodox crib death prevention advice; but there has been no reported crib death on mattresses wrapped in accordance with the mattress-wrapping protocol.
Unlike orthodox advice, mattress-wrapping has a 100% success record in crib death prevention.
How reliable is this research?
In 2002 a German environmental medicine practitioner, Dr Hannes Kapuste, published the statistical results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping campaign: "Giftige Gase im Kinderbett" ("Toxic Gases in Infants' Beds”), Zeitschrift fuer Umweltmedizin (2002, No. 44) 18-20.
The "p" factor for the mattress-wrapping intervention was calculated by Dr Kapuste (in collaboration with the University of Munich) as being:
p = less than 1.9 x 10(exp minus 22)
It is usual in medical circles to regard a "p" of less than 0.01 as sound proof of a scientific proposition; and if the "p" is less than 0.001, that is regarded as virtually certain proof.
1.9 x 10(exp minus 22) (the "p" factor for mattress-wrapping) can be written as: 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,19
Put another way, the statistical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents crib death is one billion times the level of proof which medical researchers generally regard as constituting certain proof of a scientific proposition. Not surprisingly, therefore, Dr Kapuste described the toxic gas theory for crib death and mattress wrapping for crib death prevention as having "overwhelming reliability".
What does Dr Sprott say about orthodox crib death prevention advice?
1) Don't smoke around your baby.
Recent history refutes any suggestion that smoking causes crib death, says Dr Sprott. Smoking was very common in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s, but crib death was virtually non-existent. Smoking is prevalent in present-day Russia and Japan, but the crib death rates are low. No cause-and-effect relationship between smoking and crib death has been established – they are socio-economic parallels. Put another way, smoking is more common among poorer people, and so is crib death. But it does not follow that smoking is therefore a crib death risk factor.
2) Don't bedshare with your baby if you also smoke or smoked during pregnancy.
Misleading advice, says Dr Sprott. The risk posed by bedsharing does not arise from smoking – it arises from the mattress. Adults' mattresses very frequently contain the same chemical and fungi as babies' mattresses, and therefore they can generate the same toxic gas/es. (For physiological reasons adults are not put at risk by this gas generation in mattresses.)
3) Sleep your baby with feet to the foot of the crib.
According to Dr Sprott, this practice affords no protection whatsoever against crib death. Any area on an unwrapped mattress where a baby sleeps is a potential source of toxic gas, since that is the area which becomes warm and moist (promoting the fungal activity which can cause gas generation).
4) Sleep your baby face up.
Face-up sleeping is a partial preventive against crib death. This is because the gases which cause crib death are more dense than air. They diffuse away towards the floor, and therefore a baby sleeping face up is less likely to inhale them.
Why don't orthodox crib death researchers tell parents to wrap
babies' mattresses?
Dr Sprott suggests a variety of possible reasons:
Crib death research has been a source of funding for medical researchers. In various countries, including the U.S., it continues to be so (although not in New Zealand, where research funding has nearly ground to a halt as people have become aware that mattress-wrapping is easy, inexpensive and 100% successful in preventing crib death).
The toxic gas theory has been publicized since 1989 (first in Britain), but it has been vigorously denied by researchers and organizations responsible for advising parents. In the intervening period, many thousands of babies have died of crib death. But the New Zealand experience shows that those deaths
were avoidable – and that raises the prospect of legal liability for babies' deaths.
In his book, The Cot Death Cover-Up? (Penguin Books, NZ, 1996), Dr. Sprott relates a history of denial on the part of orthodox crib death researchers and the medical community, and their failure to accept or inform parents of the simple explanation for the cause of crib death. His book is available through our on-line order form or by calling 1.651.455.4610.
What about the theory that crib death has a number of causes (the so-called "multifactorial" theory)?
Clearly wrong, says Dr Sprott. At this point he draws attention to a highly significant piece of information about crib death: the crib death risk rises from the first baby in a family to the second, and rises again from the second baby to the third, and so on. Babies of solo parents have a very high crib death rate.
Dr Sprott explains that the rising rate of crib death from one sibling to the next destroys every medical and physiological theory for the cause of crib death.
* For example, some researchers think crib death is caused by babies re-breathing their exhaled carbon dioxide. However, all babies exhale a similar amount of CO2, regardless of whether they are first, second or later babies. Therefore, the rising rate of crib death from one sibling to the next refutes the CO2 theory.
* Some researchers think crib death is related to the size of babies' airways. However, for this theory to be valid would require second babies' airways to be smaller than those of first babies; and third babies' airways to be smaller than those of second babies; and so on. Clearly, therefore, the airways theory
is wrong, because the size of babies' airways is not related to birth order.
So what is the explanation for the rising rate of crib death from one sibling to the next?
Crib death is caused by gases generated in mattresses - and many parents re-use mattresses from one baby to the next. If a mattress contains any of the chemicals concerned and fungi have become established in the mattress during previous use by another baby, generation of toxic gas commences sooner and in greater volume when the mattress is re-used.
This accounts for the rising rate of crib death from one sibling to the next. It also accounts for the very high crib death rate among babies of solo parents, who for economic reasons are more likely to sleep their babies on previously used mattresses which they have acquired secondhand.
What about the claim that vaccination causes crib death?
Vaccination is not the cause of crib death – however, various studies demonstrate that vaccination is a crib death risk factor. The way in which vaccination increases the risk of crib death is as follows:
Any circumstance which reduces the efficiency of a baby's immune system, or which causes the baby to have a higher than normal body temperature, will make the baby more likely to succumb to the gaseous poisoning which causes crib death. If the temperature in a baby’s crib increases by 3C (say from 37C to 40C), the rate of gas generation increases by 10 to 20 times.
Since, therefore, vaccination can adversely affect the immune system (temporarily) and increase body temperature (due to the minor infection caused by the vaccine), it can make a baby more susceptible to the cause of crib death.
However, if the baby's mattress is correctly wrapped for crib death prevention and the correct bedding used, there is no risk of crib death associated with vaccination, since the wrapping prevents exposure to the gas/es concerned. Therefore, the fact that a baby sleeping on a correctly wrapped mattress has been recently vaccinated becomes irrelevant as regards crib death. The baby may experience the common physical symptoms following vaccination, but crib death will not ensue.
An Australian researcher, Dr Viera Scheibner, has stated that half of all crib deaths are caused by vaccination. However, this assertion is clearly refuted by crib death epidemiology in New Zealand, the USA and Japan. For example:
(a) The supposed link between crib death and vaccination is refuted by Dr Scheibner herself when she states that the USA is the nation most committed to vaccination. In that case, why does the USA not have a very high crib death rate? In 1994 the US crib death rate was only half that of New Zealand; yet both countries had a high vaccination rate.
EXPLANATION: Unlike in the USA, the vast majority of New Zealand crib mattresses are fabric-covered and babies often sleep on sheepskins (allowing exposure to toxic gas/es).
(b) There are wide disparities between the crib death rates of the three major ethnic groups in New Zealand. The groups which vaccinate the least (Maori and Pacific Island) have the highest crib death rates. The Maori crib death rate is
around ten times higher than the European crib death rate; yet the Europeans have a far higher vaccination rate. If Dr Scheibner were correct, the reverse would be the situation.
EXPLANATION: Many European parents wrap their babies' mattresses and so prevent exposure to toxic gas/es. Therefore, the fact that these babies have been vaccinated does not make them more susceptible to the gaseous poisoning which causes crib death, since they are not exposed to the gas/es in the first place.
(c) Dr Scheibner states that the vaccination policy in Japan (where babies are vaccinated at a later age than in other countries) is the reason for the historically low crib death rate in that country. How then does she account for the fact that the vaccination policy in Japan has not changed but the crib death rate in Japan is now rising?
EXPLANATION: Japanese parents are moving from using traditional Japanese cotton futons (which cannot generate the toxic gases concerned) towards using western-style mattresses. Therefore, it stands to reason that the crib death rate is rising irrespective of the fact that the vaccination policy has not changed.
(d) Dr Scheibner's conclusions are, therefore, disproved by the Japanese experience and by a comparison of crib death and vaccination rates between countries.
(e) The fact that vaccinated Australian babies were found to have died of crib death on the same day following vaccination as vaccinated US babies died of crib death does not advance Dr Scheibner's argument that vaccination causes crib death.
EXPLANATION: The rise in body temperature which occurs after vaccination peaks on a particular day following vaccination (a fact which has been known for decades). So vaccinated babies sleeping on unwrapped mattresses are most susceptible to crib death on the same day following vaccination.
As a matter of scientific logic, Dr Scheibner cannot say that vaccination causes half of all crib deaths. What her research shows is that half of all crib death babies have been recently vaccinated.
In summary, to explain the correlation between vaccination and crib death:
1. Overheating increases the risk of crib death on unwrapped mattresses (by increasing gas generation).
2. Vaccination often causes babies to have a slight fever (a reaction to the infection caused by vaccination). That fever results in an increase in body temperature, resulting in increased temperature in the baby’s crib, and therefore increased gas generation.
3. Thus there is an increased crib death risk following vaccination if a baby is sleeping on an unwrapped mattress (and is therefore exposed to the gas/es which cause crib death).
4. However, if a baby is sleeping on a correctly wrapped mattress, and is thereby protected from exposure to any gas/es being generated in bedding, vaccination will not result in the conditions which cause crib death. There may still be a temporary increase in temperature in the crib (due to increased body temperature), but the baby will not be exposed to the toxic gas/es which cause crib death.
5. Therefore, a recently vaccinated baby will not die of crib death if it is sleeping on a correctly wrapped mattress; but recent vaccination increases the risk of crib death on an unwrapped mattress (as a result of overheating).
Could the wrapping of the mattress in polyethylene cause a baby to sweat or overheat?
If sweating/overheating occurs on a wrapped mattress, it is not caused by the polyethylene wrap. As a matter of thermodynamics, the layer of polyethylene used to wrap a mattress is so thin in relation to the thickness of the mattress that it has no measurable effect on the rate of heat transfer from the baby to the mattress itself. Put another way, the overheating is not caused by the polyethylene wrap.
If sweating/overheating occurs on a wrapped mattress, it is the result of too much overbedding or too much clothing on the baby or overheating of the baby’s room.
Babies, especially newborn babies, have a GREATER capacity than adults to retain their body heat, and LESS capacity than adults to cool themselves down. Therefore babies should be lightly dressed for sleep, and their required bedding is less than an adult requires to keep warm.
When sleeping in their cribs:
(a) Babies should sleep in loose baby gowns or pajamas;
(b) They should not sleep in any item of clothing which encloses their feet (such as a jumpsuit or socks) or which encloses their hands;
(c) They should not wear bonnets or helmets, since much of their body heat loss (which is essential) occurs via the head.
In respect to baby bed safety as it relates to nursery bedding used on top of a baby:
(a) Babies should use no more than two pure wool or pure cotton overblankets;
(b) In a centrally-heated home, one pure wool or pure cotton overblanket may be sufficient.
The overnight temperature in a baby's room should not exceed 17-18 degrees Celsius.
Sarah 2 months ago at 10:05 AM
The above URL is a very well-thought out argument against the toxic gas theory.
Zach Smith 2 months ago at 10:05 AM
Although the theory claiming nerve gasses in mattresses as the main cause of SIDS is still weak, parents should still put the safety of their kids at the top of their priority. Organic mattresses are ideal because they do not contain harmful chemicals but if this type of mattress proves too expensive, try safer alternatives instead. Just make sure what you are buying do not contain phosphorous, arsenic and antimony as these can be converted into toxic nerve gasses.
Baby Crib 2 months ago at 10:05 AM
The previous poster provided some very detailed and compelling support for ensuring safe sleeping for your baby. We want the cost to be right, but we also want to put the babies safety first always.
Portable Generators 2 months ago at 10:05 AM
Even if there is no evidence found on the studies of antimony and SIDS. Would you even risk your child? I agree completely, materials for a crib mattress must be organic. Why would you use something else?
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